Carolina Panthers 2012 NFL Mock Draft
By CJ Milner
Carolina needs to trade down to acquire more picks as they have many holes on defense and a couple on offense. A team in the 14 to 22 range will probably want to get ahead of Buffalo for someone like Riley Reiff, Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd, David DeCastro, Melvin Ingram or Cordy Glenn. I could see that team being the San Diego Chargers. Ron Rivera’s former team is aggressive when it comes to trading up for a guy they really want as they showed in the 2010 NFL Draft from the 28th pick all the way up to the 12th pick to select Ryan Mathews. They could want to move up for a guy like Riley Reiff, Cordy Glenn or David DeCastro because guard Kris Dielman retired, offensive tackle Marcus McNeill is a free agent, and they could simply use an upgrade at right tackle over Jeromey Clary. To trade up from the 18th pick to the 9th pick would likely take a 2nd round pick(49th Overall Pick) and 3rd round pick(78th Overall Pick) while the teams would probably also swap picks in the 4th round(104th Overall Pick for 110th Overall Pick) and Carolina would also give the Chargers the 180th pick(6th Round)
Carolina’s picks in the draft would look like this:
1st Round – 18th Overall
2nd Round – 40th Overall
2nd Round – 49th Overall
3rd Round – 78th Overall
4th Round – 110th Overall
5th Round – 143rd Overall
6th Round – 207th Overall
7th Round – 216th Overall
The trade would give San Diego the following picks:
1st Round – 9th Overall
4th Round – 104th Overall
5th Round – 149th Overall
6th Round – 183rd Overall
7th Round – 226th Overall
7th Round – 250th Overall
With eight total picks, Carolina would be able to fill needs along the defensive line, linebackers, defensive backs along with a punter thrown in there somewhere after the release of Jason Baker. San Diego would be left with six total picks with none in the 2nd or 3rd rounds. With the first round pick being offensive line, the Chargers could use their remaining picks on depth at rush linebacker, offensive line, defensive back and a scatback to hopefully replace Darren Sproles who was lost in free agency last year.
By the time the 18th pick rolls around, players such as Dontari Poe, Luke Kuechly, Melvin Ingram, Quinton Coples and Stephon Gilmore will most likely be drafted already. That leaves someone like Cordy Glenn, Kendall Wright, Dre Kirkpatrick or Michael Brockers as a possible pick. Cordy Glenn would be the darkhorse pick but Jeff Otah hasn’t been able to stay healthy while at right tackle while guard Travelle Wharton was released and has signed with the Bengals. Cordy Glenn would probably start at guard and if Jeff Otah were to get injured again or struggles just the slightest bit, Glenn would move to right tackle and eventually replace Jordan Gross at left tackle. Kendall Wright would be the best player available in my opinion. I have him ranked slightly behind Justin Blackmon as the number two wide receiver in this class. He is similar in size to Steve Smith and is a very dangerous deep threat. If Carolina were to take a receiver at all during the draft, it would probably be someone with similar size to Kendall Wright as Brandon LaFell and David Gettis are both 6’2 or bigger. Dre Kirkpatrick is a big hitting corner who excels in zone coverage. Carolina primarily uses man coverage so he would need a little bit of help from Chris Gamble on that but at 6’2, 190 lbs, he would do a better job at shutting down bigger receivers like Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston and Julio Jones. Michael Brockers is all over the place on draft boards and mock drafts. I’ve seen him projected to go anywhere from the 6th overall pick to fall into the 2nd round. I have Michael Brockers as my 12th rated prospect but I may be close to alone in ranking him that high. He is the best run stuffer in the draft and with help from Ron Rivera, he could become one of the NFL’s top defensive tackles.
After all is said and done, this is how I see the Carolina Panthers picking in the draft.
1st Round – 18th Overall – Michael Brockers – DT – LSU
6’5 – 322 – 5.33
This pick came down to Michael Brockers and Dre Kirkpatrick as I see Kendall Wright going one pick earlier to the Bengals and Cordy Glenn going higher than expected, probably to Arizona at 13 or even Buffalo at 10. If Michael Brockers makes it past the Philadelphia Eagles, he should slide right into Carolina’s hands with the 18th pick. The Panthers spent two-third round picks last year on defensive tackles Sione Fua and Terrell McClain but neither of them really flashed any potential and Michael Brockers would be a big upgrade regardless. He is the best run stuffing defensive tackle in the draft and has more pass rushing moves than any other defensive tackle in the draft. He seems to be dropping because of the lack of stats and a poor showing at the combine after being thought to be a super athletic defensive tackle who should run in the 4.7 to 4.8 range. He would line up at nose rotating with Ron Edwards while Sione Fua and Terrell McClain rotate as the other defensive tackle. Michael Brockers could become a similar player to Raiders defensive lineman Richard Seymour.
2nd Round – 40th Overall – Janoris Jenkins – CB – North Alabama
5’10 – 193 – 4.44
Janoris Jenkins would be Carolina’s pick at nine if it weren’t for the character issues. In the 2nd round, Janoris Jenkins would definitely be worth the rick as he has shutdown corner potential. If Janoris Jenkins gets his character issues straightened out, Carolina would probably be getting the steal of the draft barring some undrafted running back becoming the next Arian Foster. If he doesn’t get the issues straightened out, he could be out of the league within 4 years sort of like an Adam Jones. Carolin could also go with another corner like Trumaine Johnson, Jayron Hosley, Jamell Fleming or Josh Robinson with this pick.
2nd Round – 49th Overall – Mitchell Schwartz – OT/G – Cal
6’5 – 318 – 5.45
I see Mitchell Schwartz as a future franchise left tackle. He completely shut down Nick Perry in their matchup this season. If I were a GM and need an offensive tackle in the late first round, I would strongly consider taking Mitchell Schwartz over Mike Adams. Mitchell Schwartz’ brother is former Carolina Panther and current Minnesota Viking guard Geoff Schwartz.
3rd Round – 78th Overall – Demario Davis – LB – Arkansas State
6’2 – 235 – 4.61
If Demario Davis played in a bigger conference he would or should at least be a first round pick. His instincts are some of the best in the draft including Luke Kuechly. He has the speed to chase down receivers and can cover tight ends like Tony Gonzalez and Jimmy Graham in the NFC South. He is my biggest sleeper in the draft and I think he could wind up being an all pro linebacker for the next decade. He reminds me of Navarro Bowman coming out but has much more potential.
4th Round – 110th Overall – T.Y. Hilton – WR – Florida International
5’10 – 183 – 4.34
If there is a clone of a current NFL player, it is T.Y. Hilton. This guy is Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown all made over. He comes from a conference with an equal level of competition that Antonio Brown came from(Central Michigan). He looks to be a slot receiver in his first year or two but whenever Steve Smith retires, he will be able to easily move out wide. T.Y. Hilton is a bit faster than Antonio Brown and can return kicks just as good, if not better.
5th Round – 143rd Overall – Alex Hoffman-Ellis – LB – Washington State
6’1 – 232 – 4.54
I really like Alex Hoffman-Ellis. Like Demario Davis, this guy is a sleeper that gets overlooked because of the college that he went to. He has surprising speed and looks like he could add about ten lbs to his current weight which would put him at 242 lbs. He has elite closing speed and would start out as a rotational guy at weakside and middle linebacker while starting on special teams.
6th Round – 207th Overall – Chris Greenwood – CB – Abilon
6’1 – 193 – 4.42
I’m loving how this draft is shaping up for Carolina as far as underrated prospects with high upside is concerned. Chris Greenwood is a long and athletic ball hawk of a corner who would provide insurance at corner should Janoris Jenkins not pan out. He has great speed for his size and could fight for time as Carolina’s third corner behind Chris Gamble and Janoris Jenkins during his rookie season.
7th Round – 216th Overall – Shawn Powell – P – Florida State
6’4 – 248 – 5.06
Shawn Powell has a huge leg that helped him leave Florida State as the team’s career leader in punt average(42.7). He also has very good accuracy as 21 of his 49 punts settled inside of the opponent’s 20 yard line.